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info: Thank you for contacting CenturyLink for your internet and television needs. This is Jodi B., how may I help you today?
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Potential Customer: Hi. I’m trying unsuccessfully to find a page that lists details of Internet service available in Seattle. Whether I click “check for services in my area” or “order now” I’m sent to https://www.centurylink.com/fiber/plans-and-pricing/seattle-washington/#CTAM which has the same information as previous page.
Potential Customer: Can you please give me the URL of a page which provides this information?
Jodi B.: What details are you trying to find/
Potential Customer: Internet services offered and prices at which you offer then.
Potential Customer: Not “up to” N “when you bundle” without any info about the technology used, what must be bundled, what “up to” means, restrictions on use, SLA, etc.
Potential Customer: Just, “we offer <detail about service> for a subscription of $N per <period>”
Potential Customer: Is that on your website?
Jodi B.: I would be happy to discuss all these pieces of information with you if you can provide me with your complete address?
Potential Customer: Is this information on your website?
Potential Customer: I can read it myself if I can just find it.
Potential Customer: But your website is horrible, and so far, I cannot find it.
Potential Customer: I hope you can point me to it.
Jodi B.: All internet speeds fluctuate no matter what provider you go with which is why our speeds state “up to”. No company can guarantee an exact speed all the time.
Potential Customer: via URL
Jodi B.: The specifics that you are requesting are not listed exactly on our site.
Potential Customer: Of all the things you might have on your website, this seems the most valuable.
Potential Customer: You really could cut out everything else and list what services you offer and at what prices, and both you and i would be better off.
Potential Customer: So I’m baffled.
Jodi B.: Our site will tell you what is provided in the bundle that you are looking into, but it will not provide you with the restrictions on use and SLA. Our Internet is DSL so the technology type is going to be ADSL2+ or VDSL2 depending on the speed that you are looking into.
Potential Customer: Oh, great! Please give me the URL to the 1 Gbps bundle offered in Seattle.
Potential Customer: I didn’t think VDSL2 went that high, but I have a modem that will do ADSL2+ and VDSL2, so I’m in good shape.
Jodi B.: I do not have a specific URL that will take you to an exact speed. Our speeds are based on your exact address as we are a DSL provider.
Potential Customer: You wrote, “Our site will tell you what is provided in the bundle that you are looking into.” I’m looking into the “up to 1 Gbps” bundle in Seattle. Can you give me the URL of the page to which you referred?
Jodi B.: I cannot provide you with an exact URL that will take you directly to the 1GB if it is available at your address. You will have to search for the speeds available to you at your home in order to get a list of speeds. If the 1GB is available at your home, then it will be listed.
Potential Customer: It is listed. I do not believe that your site will tell me what is provided for the bundle i”m looking into, but I welcome you proving me wrong.
Potential Customer: Can you tell me where I can find that on your site?
Potential Customer: I’m pretty handy with a browser, but no luck.
Potential Customer: after multiple attempts in multiple browsers over multiple months
Potential Customer: Really, I want to give you money to move my bits. But your website is infuriatingly poor.
Potential Customer: and of course, that does not inspire confidence
Potential Customer: But let’s try again. Where can I read specifics of services you offer?
Potential Customer: For example, I’m starting at https://www.centurylink.com/fiber/plans-and-pricing/seattle-washington
Potential Customer: nothing there but some teasers
Jodi B.: Our Proxy servers prevent us from getting onto our site from our side of things so I cannot provide you with an exact URL for the bundle that you are looking at.
Jodi B.: If it does not state any other services, then you will only be getting internet.
Potential Customer: Cool. Let’s start with an approximate one.
Potential Customer: It says: Seattle Residential Pricing
Potential Customer: 1) “get speeds up to 40 Mbps (where available) starting at $30 a month for 3 yrs when you bundle
Potential Customer: 2) get speeds up to 100 Mbps starting at $50 a month for 3yrs when you bundle
Jodi B.: Click here
Potential Customer: 3) get speeds up to 1 Gig (I think you mean Gbps, but whatever) (in select areas only) starting at $80/mo for 3yrs when you bundle
Jodi B.: That link will take you to our main home page which is the only URL that I have.
Potential Customer: you gave me http://www.centurylink.com/
Jodi B.: Which is the only URL that I am able to provide.
Potential Customer: That sounds ridiculous, but that’s your business. Can you guide me to where I can read about services you offer and subscription prices?
Jodi B.: All 3 of the previous bundles are with home phone unlimited for 3 years without a contract.
Potential Customer: Let’s break that down. “with home phone” I care not about, so I guess you’ll hook up POTS and I’ll ignore it. “unlimited” I’m very curious about, because last I chatted with a sales rep, I found that you capped data transfer at an amount that I would hit in 46 hours at offered speed. “3 years without a contract” is perplexing. Seems it’s 1 year or 10 years or 6 months unless there’s a contract or prepayment.
Potential Customer: So, 1) what did you mean by unlimited?
Jodi B.: The unlimited is only for the home phone. It is not for internet. The internet does have a 250GB data cap.
Potential Customer: and 2) what is 3yrs without contract?
Jodi B.: The 3 year price lock bundle without a contract would include:
Jodi B.: Home Phone Unlimited local and long distance calling
Jodi B.: Whatever speed of your choice with a 250GB data cap
Potential Customer: 250 GB at 1 Gbps is 33 minutes and 20 seconds
Potential Customer: You’re seriously offering 1 Gbps service with a monthly transfer cap of a half-hour of transfer?
Jodi B.: 250GB is the data usage cap. 1GB is the speed.
Potential Customer: 1 GB (one gigabyte) is a quantity, not a speed. I think you mean 1 Gpbs (one gigabit per second).
Potential Customer: and 250 Gigabytes take 33.33 minutes to transfer at one gigabit per second
Potential Customer: s/Gpbs/Gbps/
Potential Customer: Anyway, you’re telling me that this new high-speed service would be capped at about 30 minutes per month of usage at full (theoretical) speed, right?
Potential Customer: I understand actual speed would be less, but no less than half that under crazy situations. So maybe an hour at full-bore?
Potential Customer: Seriously?
Jodi B.: What do you use your Internet for?
Potential Customer: Transferring data one bit at a time from one computer to another.
Potential Customer: And I want to pay for a service to move those bits.
Potential Customer: And you’re offering to move 250 GB per month at up to 1 Gbps, roughly, depending on line conditions, etc.
Potential Customer: Which, at that rate, would last about a half hour.
Potential Customer: What, specifically, I move over those wires depends on what it costs me.
Potential Customer: The faster the service, the more usage I’ll make of it.
Potential Customer: When I’m on a slow mobile link, that’s probably just e-mail. With fast enough service, I’d run a Tor node and a Debian mirror, maybe stream audio captured from radio.
Jodi B.: If you are transferring 1 Bit at a time with the Internet. With a 250 GB cap you would be able to transfer 250,000,000 bits to reach the cap.
Potential Customer: But I want to be clear: You’re capping data transfer at about 30 minutes worth at the 1 Gbps rate, right?
Potential Customer: I’m well aware of that.
Potential Customer: I run a Tor node on a VPS now and transfer about 80 GB/day up and down.
Potential Customer: I have 7 Mbps service at home now. I could do more with faster service, but not if it’s capped at 33 minutes’ worth.
Jodi B.: Almost all residential internet providers are going to have a data cap of around 250GB or 300GB so you will need to speak with our Business Department in order to look into the cost of getting an internet connection without a cap.
Jodi B.: For assistance with Small Business services, please call us at 1-800-603-6000 Monday thru Friday during normal business hours.
Potential Customer: I don’t understand the relevance of other service providers, but can you transfer me to your business department?
Potential Customer: Ah. Okay.
Potential Customer: So to be clear: I’m calculating this correctly?
Potential Customer: 250 gigabytes divided by one gigabit per second = 2,000 seconds = 33.33 minutes
Potential Customer: Is that your understanding? That the service level you’re offering for $80/mo is capped at a half-hour of full-speed transfer per month?
Potential Customer: (which of course, many people would spread out to, say, one minute per day at full speed for a month)
Potential Customer: or many minutes per day at much less than full speed
Potential Customer: all of this suggesting that the full speed is just a gimmick
Jodi B.: Assuming that you are transferring files that are 250GB then yes.
Potential Customer: Let’s be clear: It doesn’t matter if the two hundred and fifty gigabytes are arranged as files or as streams or as anything else. Your service is capped at 33 minutes per month at the speed offered, regardless of the content of my transfer. Best I can tell, since your company refuses to publish details on your website.
Jodi B.: Downloading a large file with this speed will take fractions of seconds.
Potential Customer: And at the slower, $30/month up-to-40-Mbps service, that’s about 13 hours to hit the cap.
Jodi B.: Our High Speed Internet policies are located at CenturyLink.com under Internet Management Disclosures.
Jodi B.: How many bits per month are you needing to transfer?
Potential Customer: Max speed in bits per second times 30 times 24 times 60 times 60
Potential Customer: As I said before, if I have faster service, I’ll transfer more data.
Jodi B.: I would recommend calling into business for further assistance. Business offers plans with much higher caps.
Jodi B.: Is there anything else that I can help you with today?
Potential Customer: One month X 1 Gbps = 328.5 TB
Potential Customer: so that’s more than 1000 times your cap
Potential Customer: 1 TB = 1024 GB
Potential Customer: Why would I pay more for faster service when it includes the same monthly limit?
Potential Customer: to get my email in fewer fractions of a second?
Jodi B.: There are no residential Internet providers that offer caps over 300GB in a month that I have ever heard of.
Jodi B.: If you call business they will better be able to help you with the cap issue.
Potential Customer: If you don’t mind, I’d like to focus on CenturyLink right now.
Potential Customer: Do you know if your business pricing is listed on the Web?
Jodi B.: Well if you are saying that you are downloading 2400GB per month on a residential account. I believe that you are mistaken on how much you are actually downloading in a month currently.
Jodi B.: I would recommend business again if you are needing a higher cap.
Jodi B.: There is nothing I can do to increase the cap for you from here.
Potential Customer: Okay. Thanks for chatting. Someone from CenturyLink stopped by my home yesterday to announce that there’s faster service offered here. I told her last time I spoke with someone, you had a data cap of much less than a month. She was unaware of any cap, so I thought I’d check yet again to see if this is more than a gimmick. You’ve made it clear that “up to 1 Gbps (in limited areas) when you bundle” is, indeed, a gimmick.
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